We adopt a ‘bench to bedside’ approach to study the basis of compulsive behavioural disorders. In our basic research, we use zebrafish as a model species try to understand the biology of compulsive disorders. In particular, we want to understand more about the interaction between molecular (genetic/epigenetic) and environmental (e.g., alcohol, stress) factors that cause compulsive behaviours, and the associated neural circuits, to manifest. We carry out preclinical/translational research in zebrafish and in humans, in particular looking at the interactions of impulsivity/compulsivity and stress on addiction and relapse. In our clinical research, we apply our findings in the laboratory to test important clinical questions relating to compulsive disorders, such as addiction and relapse (in humans) and stereotypic behaviours in domestic, farm and laboratory animals.
1. Basic neural and behavioural biology of impulsive/compulsive disorders.
2. Stereotypic (compulsive, repetitive) behaviour in captive/domestic animals.
3. The effects of drugs (e.g., alcohol) during early brain development on behaviour and cognition.
Our approach is theoretically guided by the principle that understanding the biology of neuropsychiatric conditions will help develop more effective treatments for patients.
We are always interested in hearing from potential PhD or MRes students, and have a variety of projects available.
Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have a great idea for a project that fits with our interests!